People have been asking “what happened to the public bike share proposal for Leeds by ofo?” Well here at the Council we were very disappointed when last Summer, ofo announced they were not going to launch in Leeds, and subsequently they pulled all their operations in the UK!.
A formal position statement was launched in January, and here it is in full.
As it is now over five months since the company ofo withdrew its support for a bike share scheme launch in Leeds. Since then we have been reviewing the position and options for the city and this message is intended to update you on the present position.
The Council remains committed to following through its ambition to enable a public bike share scheme for the city and to work with partners and stakeholders to achieve this. Since the options for a scheme were last investigated in 2016 the range of options within the bike share sector has evolved considerably. Given our experience and learning from the initial proposal we are taking a fundamental look across the sector to identify current best practice and the business models now in use and are seeking to draw on experience from across the sector and local authorities. We have re-established a working group to support the review and are continuing to hold exploratory meetings with operators and key organisations.
There are a range of possibilities for the type of scheme we might adopt and we are aiming to establish best practice and identify the option(s) that we think will meet Leeds’ needs most effectively. Although there is some way to go, having informally met 11 potential operators during the autumn we are now working on the ambition and specification for any future scheme. At this stage it would be our intention to develop a scheme prospectus and specification to progress to the next stage. Our experience indicates that an open and competitive procurement process will be the best way of identifying a suitable operator and we are working to this end. Our current forecast programme suggests that this could deliver a full operating scheme in the first half of 2020, although the preparatory work will confirm the programme in due course.
We would like to thank all our partners for their patience as the Council work through these processes. It is our aim to achieve a quality solution for Leeds and the work we are doing has emphasised the importance of a careful and diligent process for doing this.
On a final note
This doesn’t mean that there will not be a Bike Share scheme in Leeds. We at Leeds City Council want you to know that this is very much still on our agenda for the city.